AUSTRALIAN hip-hop artist Drapht is kicking off the year with an action-packed tour.
The Uni-Verse Tour, presented by Triple J, begins in Bendigo on Tuesday with the Perth-based rapper counting down the days to get back on stage.
“I am stoked to get back,” he said. “After doing the Big Day Out tour last year I am excited to get back on the road.
“I am nervous though, it is an extensive run of shows.”
Drapht – real name Paul Ridge – said he was enjoying his return after a year out of the game.
Drapht released his debut album, Pale Rider in 2003 and then his second, Who Am I, two years later.
But it wasn’t until the release of single Jimmy Recard from his third album that the rapper became a mainstream artist.
“When Jimmy Recard came out I still had a full time job and I never really saw music as a full time thing,” he said.
“I was passionate about music and when the song was released I was like, ‘holy s..t’.
“It was then I realised that maybe I could do this.”
Jimmy Recard became the second most-played song on Triple J in 2008 and came in the top 10 of the year’s Hottest 100 list.
Making music then changed for Drapht, who in 2011 released the hugely popular album The Life of Riley.
The album featured single Rapunzel, which has been one of Drapht’s most popular songs.
With the Uni-Verse tour around the corner the hip hop star has posted his first new tracks in almost two years, 1990s and Tasty.
The ARIA winning artist said he wanted to push himself creatively when it came to writing new songs.
“I wanted to test my boundaries,” he said.
“I guess you can get comfortable when your songs get on the radio.
“It had a detrimental effect on me and then you can feel a little guilty for feeling that way so when it came to writing new songs, I really wanted to push myself.”
In his time off, Drapht said he had been working on a range of projects.
“People think that if you have a year off then you are on this massive holiday, but that’s not the case,” he said.
“Behind the scenes I have been working really hard.
“I am about to open a café in Perth and I created my own record label.
“I am self-managed so it is a lot of hard work.”
The rapper has been involved in the music industry for the past 10 years and said Australian hip hop was in a good place.
“There is some amazing music out there,” he said.
“It is almost too much for Australia to handle, with the Hilltop Hoods and 360 doing so well.
“There are lots of up and comers too, so everyone really needs to be on top of their game.”
The last time Drapht was in Bendigo was in 2011 when he performed at Groovin the Moo.
He said there was a massive difference between performing in a regional town in comparison to a metropolitan city.
“You can really feel the passion of the crowd when you perform in a regional place, which is why I wanted to do this tour, so I can give back to all the people who have supported me over the years,” he said.
Drapht will perform at Bendigo’s La Trobe University on Tuesday as part of O Week.
To buy tickets visit www.drapht.oztix.com.au